Utah’s Patchwork Parkway (Scenic Byway 143), located in the heart of Utah’s southwest, offers one of the great scenic byway experiences in the western United States. Scenic Byway 143 follows a 55 mile long course that rises from 6,000 feet on the western slope to elevations over 10,000 feet on a majestic plateau, and eventually descends again to 6,500 feet along the eastern slope. This beautiful roadway follows ancient migration routes used by Native American clans that moved from their desert wintering grounds to summer hunting and gathering lands. Cool summers and abundant natural supplies brought human inhabitants to this elevated region to acquire building materials, fuel, herbs, big-game and fish, and grazing for animals.
Scenic Byway 143 is fondly referred to as Utah’s Patchwork Parkway because of a significant historic event, where early pioneers saved themselves from starvation by using quilts to cross the deep winter snows of the plateau. (Learn more about the famous Quilt Walk.) This scenic highway serves as the first stage of a breath-taking route that crosses a series of plateaus, connecting travelers from Interstate 15 to Heritage Highway 89; the backbone of the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area, and then to Scenic Byway 12; Utah’s first All American Road, and finally to Capitol Reef Scenic Byway 24. This series of scenic byways constitutes a nationally-renowned passage between Interstate-15 and Interstate-70.
Four key communities are found
along Scenic Byway 143: Parowan, Brian Head, Panguitch Lake and Panguitch. Brian Head, Utah’s highest elevation community, hosts year-round recreational activities and is home to Utah’s southernmost ski resort. Panguitch Lake is a renowned sport fishery that draws anglers from throughout the west. Parowan and Panguitch are respectively the county seats of Iron and Garfield counties, and they make perfect book-ends to Utah’s Patchwork Parkway. As the first settlement in the region Parowan is considered the “mother town” of southern Utah, and Panguitch is the first pioneer settlement in Garfield County.
The highest spot on the plateau, Brian Head Peak, offers spectacular views stretching more than 100 miles in all directions. The forests of Bryce Canyon National Park and the rock formations of Zion National Park are each visible from this elevated spot of 11,307 feet (3,446 meters). Cedar Breaks National Monument crowns the western rim of the plateau and offers views toward the distant Great Basin desert. Geologic deposits found atop the plateau form the uppermost steps of the”Grand Staircase” which has it’s beginnings at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, more than 100 miles to the south. We invite you to experience the many natural, historic, and recreation attractions found along Utah’s Patchwork Parkway – National Scenic Byway 143.